Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nembutsu People also Capable of Great Awakening

Hakuin was a special Zen Master. He used his wisdom to promote awakening according to the person’s practice. In Japan, the practice of reciting Amitabha’s Name, or Nembutsu, was a popular practice. Even though he was from the Zen tradition, he believed that the Nembustsu was more suitable for the laity. This was because the laity has to attend to all the daily chores of a family and working life. ...However he preached that the Amida Butsu (Japanese for Amitabha Buddha) was not to be sought outside of ourselves and that one should look for him in the mind. Once it has been found, one will also find Amida’s Infinite Light. One will then realize that that has always been the nature of all things, i.e. infinite light.

One lay woman, upon hearing this teaching, instead of “converting" to Zen practice, as might be expected, she resolved to deepen her practice of the Nembutsu. She declared to Master Hakuin that the Amida’s Inifnite light was not that difficult to find. So, she recited Nembutsu in all of her daily chores – while gathering wood, while preparing meals for her family and her many other house work. After many months, while washing pot, she had an awakening. She then rushed to see Master Hakuin and said, “The Buddha’s light shines through everything!” Master Hakuin decided to test her awakening and remarked, “Are you sure? What about that animal dung there on the road?” The woman immediately slapped the Master and said, “You mean you don’t really understand?” Master Hakuin burst out laughing.

This story confirms my understanding that even using the Nembutsu we can come to the same attainment as the Zen Masters. And that the person with Nembutsu awakening can also be able to give the right response to a koan, if asked. Conversely, using the Zen Methods, we too can attain the levels of the Nembutsu practitioners. I am sure the Mahamudra method will lead to the same Unborn Mind. It’s only that one should employ the same method over time. So, this is one story of Hakuin I want to share. May all be free from suffering!

Source of story: "Zen Masters of Japan" by Richard Bryan McDaniel

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Elephant Dream

This is to record a rather strange dream I had. This morning I woke up and remembered the dream I had. It was a huge elephant and it was emitting light. There was a Buddha beside it and the Buddha too was emitting light. The elephant then became a thangka and I was looking at it together with another dharma friend. Then I woke up. Felt blessed upon waking up. This is the second time I had dreamed of a elephant - which I think is supposed to be a symbol of the Buddha. The first time was Bodhisattva Samantabhadra's elephant complete with all the tusks and lotus flowers. But that was many, many years ago. Thank you, Great Elephant for this dream blessings. :)